Thursday, August 20, 2015

Looking Back on the Aug 18th Chapter Meeting

Amazing how much work we get done on a Tuesday nite of fun and fellowship.  The usual set up crews were at work.  Lots of things were going on around the Durant Center besides setting up – choreo review on the stage, certified singer program work in a classroom, the nominating committee met at Hard Times CafĂ© before coming to Durant, and special front row choreo work in another classroom.


Director Joe Cerutti did the vocal warm ups this week and got us ready to go to work on the songs for the Icon Show in Sept.   He stopped after a bit and had us sing happy birthday to our favorite Tuesday nite fan, Carolyn Hall, celebrating her 83rd!


Also during the first part of the nite, bass section leaders Tom Jackson and Andrew Havens met with the large number of bass singers interested in doing the verse solos for “Riders in the Sky” and three lead signers auditioned to be the soloist for “Happy” – Noah Van Gilder, Josh Des Portes and Kevin McKenzie.


When we did “Thriller” our choreographer Carlos Barillo helped us add the extra zombie effect to our moves.


Joe also welcomed Alexandria Mayor William Euille who stopped in to listen a while after attending another meeting in Durant. 


Operations vp Todd Ryktarsyk conducted the regular chapter meeting.  Fall weekend coordinator Shawn Tallant asked guys to take care of making the room reservations for Ocean City and to get their convention registrations.  Frank and Kitty Fedarko are helping organize a group purchase so more Harmonizer fans are seated together in the hall up there.


Shows producer Greg Tepe reviewed details for the event in Manassas where all the chapters in No VA sing for each other.  It is on Tues Aug. 25th at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 12975 Purcell Rd, Manassas.  We sing last but all of us  that can make it at the 7 pm start should be there to meet and greet other barbershoppers in the area. There are refreshments.  Our guys actually provide sound support and the host chapter, Prince William County, will unload our Harmo van and set up the risers.


Uniforms are the black logo shirt and jeans.  New members and guests are welcome and encouraged to attend. This is a great chance for your family and friends to come hear us too.  There are lots of seats in this air conditioned hall at the church. And there is plenty of parking.  Plan ahead to combat a little traffic if you can leave the city til after work.  Or plan a ride with some other guys.


Carlos spoke to us about costumes for the Icon show.  We will need to wear both the black suit with tie (that we wore in Toronto) as well as the black tails and white tie.  AND the last act will be all red, white and blue.  Robyn Murane helped explain the variations of those colors for the outfits and passed out a nice chart with suggestions. Singers should plan to bring their red/white/blue costume to the chapter meeting on Sept 1st.


The costume for the fall Mid Atlantic District chorus contest is the same one we wore in Pittsburgh.  All those new men need to be sure they are working on their outfit and get it approved right away by Carlos.


Chuck McKeever announced a by-invitation-only special stage presence review sessions will be held at Durant in classrooms 3 and 4 from 7-9 pm on Aug. 26th.


Secretary Chris Buechler presented membership renewal cards to Tom Jackson for 20 years and Randy Lazear for 41 years.


President Terry Reynolds announced that Alan Kousen’s brother died recently, that former district champ Chip Guffey had a heart attack and is due for surgery this week; and that John Hohl is in the hospital in Florida.


Terry also made the official announcement that there will be a chapter meeting on Sept 1st to elect officers for the new Alexandria Harmonizers Inc. organization.  This is the two-week notice.


After break we worked hard on the contest songs for Ocean City.  Great to see so many of the new members on the risers to perform the contest package with us!!


There was a great afterglow at LaPorta’s after all the work got done to put things away.


Until next time – editorjack!

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week during the 67th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Looking Back on the Aug 11th Chapter Meeting

(Thanks to Alan Wile for taking notes for YeEd who is on vacation in the Adirondacks.)

By 6:00 p.m. the risers were beginning to be put up. There was no choreo refresher tonight, as Chuck McKeever was away. Eventually, Dick and Carolyn Hall were selling 50-50 tickets, Bruce Lauther was accepting/returning medals and had five large cards for Harmonizer shut-ins, Dixie Kennett was taking attendance, Tony Colosimo was holding “one-on-ones” for the first group of men in the “Certified Singer” program (with admin assistance from Dean Rust), Mike Kelly was setting up the sound equipment, Rich Hewitt was busily welcoming guests, Carl Kauffmann was attending to treasurer “stuff,” Terry Reynolds, Joe Cerutti, Steve White, Carlos Barillo, and (perhaps) others were conferring on the plans for tonight’s rehearsal and beyond, etc.


Reed Livergood conducted the warm-up session and then turned the evening over to Joe. He began with a session on the “Sky” tag and then turned to rehearsing sections/all of “Lullaby,” “America,” “Happy,” “Thriller”, and “Sweet Caroline” --- which will be the five songs we’ll perform at the Dog Days multi-chapter event in a couple of weeks. Marvin Evans was the first audition to sing the solo part in “Happy;” others will have an opportunity to do so in upcoming weeks.


Sectionals were the next order of business.


When all back together, director Joe Cerutti explained again about the “Certified Singer” program – that a pilot group of about 25 men, selected by part and experience levels to complete prior to the district contest and that all will have gone through it by the time we head to Nashville for the international convention/contest. He emphasized that this is NOT designed to weed out anyone NOR is it a program to identify elite singers - it’s an approach to make each member a better singer and contributor to the whole of the chorus. It is designed to ensure comprehension of five specific areas explained and demonstrated by Tony at last week’s chapter meeting and for individuals to understand whether they are “doing it” or not. After district, “lessons learned” will be collected in order to continue and improve the program.


Operations vp Todd Ryktarsyk conducted the business meeting.  Chapter coordinator for this fall’s contest weekend, Shawn Tallant, reminded all to get their room reservations at the Harmo-Hotel in Ocean City for the district contest – only four weeks left. Also, he stressed the need for all competitors to have registrations. And he needs volunteers to make it a great weekend.


Bruce Lauther asked members to sign the cards for our shut-ins and noted that 61 medals have been engraved ... and he’s looking for more, if desired.


Tom Kern was “introduced” as the guy for uniforms, should anyone need any of the various parts.


Chapter secretary Chris Buechler noted that 22 men still need to renew their membership before the district contest and handed out cards to four members who recently renewed: Spence Wight (2 years), Todd Ryktarsyk (10), Alan Wile (34), and Carl Kauffman (43).


Terry Reynolds announced (1) that we’ll need both black suits and the tails for our American Icon show in September; (2) that Ross Johnson is home from the hospital but pretty much confined to a wheel chair for the next few weeks with a broken leg; (3) that there is an all-parts sectional at the First Baptist Church on Saturday; and (4) that those who contribute $100 or more to the CD project by midnight, August 12, will be listed in the liner notes of the CD for sale at the American Icon show (which will include songs sung on the show).


Membership vp Rich Hewitt (1) welcomed Matt Doniger as our most recent bass member; (2) reminded that “open auditions” are scheduled for September 23rd; (3) displayed brand new chapter business cards which debuted at the Market Square show, Friday, August 7th; (4) noted that there were sign-up sheets for the two Icon shows (some may have indicated they would attend one but forgot about the other ... for the two shows on September 19th); (5) announced that the membership goals for the second half of the year would be coming soon; and (6) introduced six guests and six applicants with us tonight!!!


After singing to the guests, led by assistant director emeritus Will Cox, we took a break for coffee and goodies prepared by Walt Page (in the absence of Jack Pitzer).


Back at it, Joe worked a bit on the “What a day” tag. He explained that at Harmony University it was made clear that the BHS presentation category is moving away from what has become “traditional” choreographed moves for larger/better barbershop choruses and is now concentrating more on artistry believable emotion. Carlos asked that we give 50% less in our body moves and, instead, sing not to the audience but to someone “standing directly in front of you.” He asked that we do away with “wide eyes/raised eyebrows" and frown lines --- and specifically asked that we work at home in front of a mirror when singing the ballad. Similarly, the up-tune should be light and carefree; have fun with the song; treat it “tongue in cheek.”


Finally, Ina Berkey won the 50-50 and directed us all in “Keep The Whole World Singing.” It was good to see one of our Friends In Harmony in this role! Nice job, Ina!!


Until next time – editorjack!

(This message is prepared for your review if you were there, for your information if you had to miss, and as a historical record of the great things going on each week during the 67th year of the Alexandria Harmonizer Chapter. —YeEd.